WORKPLACE / JUL. 28, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Help Your Boss Succeed

As an employee, you may not think that it’s your job to help your boss succeed. He undoubtedly has the skills, experience and education; therefore, he knows his job. However, a boss is only as good as his team. If your boss succeeds, you succeed -- and this opens the door to greater opportunities within the organization. Here’s a look at seven ways to help your boss succeed.

#1. Give positive and negative feedback

Don’t be afraid to give your boss feedback -- both positive and negative. Your boss isn’t perfect, and his management style might involve a lot of trial and error. Offer feedback so he can assess what works for the team and what doesn’t work. For example, if you appreciate his patience and understanding nature, give commendation. But if you feel that he’s a bit standoffish and has unrealistic expectations, schedule a meeting to discuss these issues in private. Bosses become better leaders by recognizing their faults and making adjustments. 

#2. Be direct

Sometimes, the direct approach works best - it removes the guesswork. To help your boss succeed, be direct and ask what you can do to make his job easier. This shows initiative and demonstrates that you’re a team player. Your boss will appreciate the effort and likely offer suggestions. For example, if your boss doesn’t have the best memory, he may need you to stay on top of his schedule and speak up if he forgets a commitment; or if he isn’t organized, he may require your input when organizing functions and meetings. 

#3. Give your boss the benefit of the doubt

You may not always agree with your boss’s decisions. However, going against the grain and doing your own thing will not help your boss succeed. If anything, your lack of participation can sabotage his efforts. At the end of the day, you need to trust that your boss knows how to do his job, and you need to respect the decisions he makes. Assuming the worst about your boss can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, at which time you get what you expect. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. As an employee, you might make one choice - but as a boss, he has to think on a grander scale. His decisions need to benefit the entire organization; therefore, he can’t afford to be shortsighted or act on emotions. 

#4. Be professional in everything you do

The way you act around customers and clients is not only a reflection of the company, but also your boss. You might be a customer’s first impression of the company; and if you come off as aggressive, rude or unfriendly, this can unintentionally shape the person’s opinion about your team, including your boss. 

#5. Anticipate problems

A proactive attitude is another way to help your boss succeed. It doesn’t matter how competent your boss is, he will make mistakes. If you perceive or anticipate a potential risk, jump in and take the initiative to alleviate the problem. For example, your boss may schedule job interviews on a particular date, yet this date overlaps with another office event. Although he will eventually discover the time conflict on his own, bringing the issue to his attention sooner provides ample time to make adjustments. 

#6. Defend your boss

Don’t jump on the bandwagon and start badmouthing your boss. Even if you agree with others in the office, engaging in workplace gossip escalates the problem and makes your boss look bad. Calm the situation by redirecting the conversation. Sure, he might have his fault, but he also has commendable traits. How you respond to negative talk about your boss can positively shape another person’s opinion.

Bottom Line

Your boss isn’t perfect, and when it’s all said and done, your actions and attitude can make his job easier or harder. You might not always see eye-to-eye, but you’re on the same team. 

What are other ways to help your boss succeed?



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